Why the Hiatus?

OK, ladies and gents, you might have been asking yourselves what happened to us over the last two years. Not that we think you sit there thinking about us all day, you’ve definitely got better things to do! There has been a hiatus, however, and it’s time to explain.

Let’s break this down: Brum Spirit – Professional Incredibles‘ fabulous cultural exchange between Birmingham and Brazil –  was founded in 2011. Back then, it was known as Espirito Brum, due to our partnership with a Europe wide network of festivals called Espirito Mundo, run by a production company from Brazil.

We ran three editions of Espirito Brum, in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Every year, a whole new bunch of visiting artists came to visit Birmingham, from all over Brazil. They created, performed and shared alongside artists from Brum, and from the wider UK, in neighbourhoods all across our beloved home city. We had a wicked time, we learned a lot, we made loads of mistakes, and we made magic happen.

In 2013, we partnered with Kings Heath Business Improvement District to bring a carnival inspired focus to South Brum’s favourite High Street. Campinas raised Flautins Matua led the parade as part of their European tour.

We also curated the Welcome to Kings Heath mural – painted by Brazilian artist Ficore, alongside Kings Heath’s very own Hoakser. Three years on, the mural is still there, untouched and brightening a little corner of B14. Its gets seen by around 4500 road users per hour, and as you can see from this article, it’s become synonymous with the neighbourhood.

Ficore also collaborated with Mr. Christian – in house designer at indie boutique The People Shop – on a one of a kind graffiti dress. Why the heck not?

People Shop Dress - Dan Burwood, Model Talie Hurdwell

Our 2013 edition was lush. It was also quite stressful, and due to ethical differences between ourselves and the makers of Espirito Mundo, briefly centring around our belief that artists should be paid for their work, so that they don’t die of exposure, in 2014 we rebranded to Brum Spirit.

This also meant that we could extend the cultural exchange up to involve visiting artists from other nations, as well as those from Brazil. The name Brum Spirit encapsulates the sense of welcome, tolerance, self determination and eclecticism that Birmingham embodies as a city, and we wanted to open our homes and our hearts to artists from all over the damn globe.

For Brum Spirit 2014, we did just that. As well as welcoming back visiting Brazilian musician Jota III for the 4th time, we called on Kadialy Kouyate from Senegal, and CASCA from Cameroon, through our partnership with Celebrating Sanctuary and Muzikstan.

In line with our commitment to brighten up neglected corners of Birmingham with crowd curated public artworks, we hosted French graffiti artist RCF1, while he completed a collaborative mural in homage to Brum’s underground music scene, alongside Hoakser.

So, nicely settled into our new name, and continuing to build on our small but carefully formed exchange model, Brum Spirit was going swimmingly. Then, one day, our Director Tessa Burwood decided it was about time she set herself a new challenge – one which would take up a heck of a lot of time. So she buckled down to studying for a Graduate Diploma in Law, at BPP Birmingham, and she blooming well passed.

What with that, and creating our sister project Levitate, there was no time to run a full edition of Brum Spirit in 2015, so we took a year off from public events. We did make this wicked film though, all about Birmingham’s music scene, with a little help from Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky.

So, that explains the hiatus. But fear not – Brum Spirit is back in 2016! Yey! We have loads of cool things to share with you this year, and we cannot wait to get started 🙂 Thank you big time for bearing with us 🙂 Tamojunto familia!

 

People Stand Together Mural ft. Hoakser and RCF1 (Paris)

So folks, we told you this year’s community mural would take pride of place on our favourite underground venue, PST. Well it’s done, it’s happened, it’s in the bag, and it looks wicked. Brum based graffiti artist Hoakser collaborated with Parisian veteran RCF1, for a meeting of styles in true homage to this venue’s rich musical heritage. Watch this video by Brumterritory to see what went down.

 

Rebel Spirit, in association with IDFB 2014

What a great time we had, running the fourth edition of Rebel Spirit – our celebration of Birmingham’s underground music scene – in association with International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014.

As part of IDFB‘s Paint the Town Red Series – a series of events throughout the festival which drew attention to the city’s varied social dance movements – we put together a really eclectic lineup – a bunch of artists from all walks of life, who had the pleasure of whipping up PST’s main room into a light hearted frenzy of dance and movement.

Forro in Brum leading the dance

Global roots venue PST has a 15 year history springing from the Jamaican blues dance movement.

Where better for breakdance initiative Open Circles to join forces with Northeastern Brazilian social dance enthusiasts Forró in Brum, Nottingham School of Samba featuring pioneering Afro Brazilian choreographer Irineu Nogueira, and Capoeira Cordão de Ouro Birmingham, for an open floor event where everyone got a chance to try out new moves?

Forro in Brum at Rebel Spirit by Dan Burwood

Brazilian reggae and hip hop star Jota III joined forces with DJ Destruction Turntablist Champion DJ Feva and DJ Silence to host proceedings, with guest appearances from old school reggae vocalists Pablo Rider, Lionart and Juggla. It’s not every day you see roots reggae, hip hop, samba, forró, breakdance and capoeira join together all under one roof!

Some Cities Portraits from Rebel Spirit by Andrew Jackson

Almost 200 people joined us for a welcoming vibe, home cooked Jamaican food and a roof top after party that took us through to dawn. Image makers from Izuna Visuals and Some Cities created gorgeous photos and video of the night – so even if you didn’t make it, you can get a little sense of what went on. There are also a few shots on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

We were thrilled to discover, when the dust had settled, that proceeds from ticket sales had raised £400 to support social dance movements in Birmingham. Any excuse for a boogie ;).

Brum Together! Just in case you missed it…

On Saturday January 25th 2014, Professional Incredibles, Our Big Gig Extra, Birmingham City Council, Near Neighbours and All Saints Centre invited people from all walks of life, from across Birmingham, to try something new with someone new.

We know that trying new things and socializing with others is beneficial, both on individual and community level. Research by the Young Foundation has found that wellbeing is higher amongst people who have regular contact with their neighbours and that knowing people in our local area, even if is just to say hello, can have a big impact on how secure and happy we feel about where we live.

With this in mind, Brum Together wanted to celebrate and showcase ways in which you can get involved with those around you, try out new experiences and improve your wellbeing in the process.

Over 30 different organisations and practitioners got involved with Brum Together, and over 90 people came the event. It was awesome, even if we do say so ourselves 😉

The whole day gave the opportunity to learn about a new hobby or skill, with the likes of Circus Mash,  on hand teaching a variety of circus skills. There was also support from theatre practitioner Hermione Sethi, who led a playful drama workshop, and the very talented Hasret Brown Art, pattern maker Hasret Brown offered up her unusual geometric arts and craft sessions.

We also enjoyed performances from a really talented bunch of artists such as  Culture Shock, and Mendi Singh. Culture Shock shared with us a very special session from their highlight performance from the previous year’s project, whilst Mendi Singh treated the crowd to a lesson in singing and tabla rhythms.

Also the talented Capoeira Cordão De Ouro Birmingham treated us to an indoor performance, due to the rain, however the heavy downpour did not dampen the group’s spirits, throwing a performance with elements of fight, play and dance; Capoeira Cordão De Ouro were awesome!

Not forgetting the premiere performance from Drum Together Brum, the inspirational community music project led by percussionist Damon Wilding.

A big thank you to the Soulful Lebanese Bakery for the catering and also thank you to everyone who brought along a homemade creation to share with the rest of the community. Biggups to whoever made that rhubarb strudel – it was yummy!

And a massive THANK YOU to all our workshop practitioners and special guests from Mary Street Gurdwara, All Saints Centre, Gillian and Jake Lever, All Saints Community Arts, Avtar Singh, Revd. David Warbrick,Our Big Gig Extra, Near Neighbours, Professional Incredibles, Culture Shock, Hasret Brown Art, CircusMASH, Soulful Lebanese Bakery, Hermione Sethi, Mendi Singh, Drum Together Brum led by Damon Wilding and Capoeira Cordão de Ouro Birmingham.